There were multiple times when WWE was forced to make changes to its card due to several factors concerning the event. Whether it be an injury, fans’ receptions, or simply a last-minute decision by the booker, these circumstances are crucial to alter the show in an entirely different way.
On the other hand, a wrestling program can be full of predictability, causing the product to feel worn out since viewers already know what will occur at the big show itself. Both these instances have happened quite often, especially when WrestleMania is drawing near.
In this article, we will present to you the five times where WWE’s February PPVs managed to completely change the course of WrestleMania, as well as five other times their results were downright predictable.
10. PREDICTABLE: WWF In Your House 6: Rage In The Cage (1996)
It’s 1996. The Diesel Power has come to an end, the New Generation Era is in full swing, and the WWF is looking for a brand-new face to carry the company over the next year. Enter The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, who immediately went on to win the Royal Rumble at the namesake PPV, earning a shot at Bret Hart’s World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XII.
There were little doubts about the results of In Your House: Rage In The Cage, an event sandwiched between Rumble and ‘Mania heading into the Show of Shows. At the event, Shawn Michaels defeated Owen Hart to keep his #1 contender spot, while Bret Hart retained his title over Diesel in a Steel Cage bout, much like what everyone expected.
9. CHANGED WRESTLEMANIA: WWF In Your House 13: Final Four (1997)
While WrestleMania 13 wasn’t directly affected by this show, the “Lost Smile” incident a few days prior to the PPV was what triggered a massive butterfly effect on ’Mania itself. Basically, then WWF Champion Shawn Michaels claimed he suffered an injury that could end his career, prompting him to cut an infamous promo on a special Thursday night episode of RAW, saying he had “lost his smile” and “needed to get it back” (yep, you read that right…).
This, in turn, caused the company to change the main event of In Your House: Final Four into a WWF Title bout after it was initially scheduled as a #1 contender match. In an all-star main event that featured Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Vader, The Hitman would walk away the victor before dropping the belt to Sycho Sid the following night on RAW, ultimately leading to a double main event at WrestleMania: The Undertaker vs. Sid for the WWF Title and Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin in a legendary submission match.
8) PREDICTABLE: WWE Elimination Chamber 2011
This might be the most predictable Elimination Chamber PPV event in history. If you’ve been watching the weeklies from at least the Royal Rumble, it should take you little to no problem guessing who’s taking home the win in each matchup. Aside from the two Elimination Chamber bouts, the two promoted singles bouts were Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio taking on Kofi Kingston and WWE Champion The Miz defending against Jerry Lawler.
Del Rio obviously won to keep his momentum going, and as much as The King made you want to believe he was going to win, deep down inside, we all knew Miz was going home with the strap. Two of the men’s Chambers weren’t too different either. Del Rio declared he would face Edge for the Big Gold Belt at ‘Mania. As expected, the Rated-R Superstar retained his title. Meanwhile, in the RAW Chamber, everyone saw it coming a mile away that it’d be John Cena who got the WWE Title shot at WrestleMania XXVII, and indeed, Super Cena prevailed.
7) CHANGED WRESTLEMANIA: WWE No Way Out 2008
No Way Out 2008 saw the second time a wrestler used his Royal Rumble title opportunity before WrestleMania. John Cena, who had just won the Royal Rumble after his epic return, announced he would cash in his shot against WWE Champion Randy Orton. It was a puzzling decision to say the least, and to make matters worse, the match ended in a DQ, essentially making Cena, the face of the company, look like a fool.
Later in the show, Triple H won the Elimination Chamber to determine a #1 contender for the WWE Title, turning the title match into a three-way. Also, at the event, Big Show made his return to the company after a year-long absence. Show taunted famed boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. who was attending the PPV as a fan, and the two had a brief scuffle that resulted in Show bleeding from his nose and mouth, setting up the match between the two at WrestleMania XXIV.
6) PREDICTABLE: WWE Fastlane 2016
During the main event of Royal Rumble 2016, Triple H made a shocking return during the namesake contest at #30, triumphing over the remaining participants and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the fourteenth time. That alone changed the entire course of WrestleMania. However, the same can’t be said for the following month’s PPV.
A three-way, pitting previous champ Roman Reigns, Rumble runner-up Dean Ambrose, and the Beast Brock Lesnar, was booked for Fastlane 2016, with the winner being named #1 contender for Hunter’s strap at WrestleMania 32. Much like what everyone else predicted, Roman Reigns won and went on to main event ‘Mania for the second straight year. This Roman push would continue for several years until fans finally accepted him as the top guy after his heel turn in 2020.
5) CHANGED WRESTLEMANIA: WWE Elimination Chamber 2010
WrestleMania XXVI may be famous for its major matches, but that wouldn’t have happened without the shocking turns of events that took place during the last stop before the Granddaddy of ‘Em All. Elimination Chamber 2010 saw three HUGE shockers that stunned fans. The first of the three came right after John Cena’s victory in the opening Chamber. Vince McMahon came out and forced Cena to defend his newly-won WWE Title then and there against Batista, where the Animal absolutely demolished the Cenation leader in 32 seconds.
Both the second and third surprises occurred during the Elimination Chamber main event. The Undertaker was on the cusp of retaining his Big Gold Belt over five other combatants… that was until Shawn Michaels appeared out of nowhere and gave him a Sweet Chin Music to knock him out! Chris Jericho, the last challenger left, quickly capitalized, pinning the Deadman to capture his third World Heavyweight Title.
The results of this PPV gave us three marquee bouts for WrestleMania – Batista vs. John Cena for the WWE Title, Chris Jericho vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Title, and the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in a Streak versus Career affair.
4) PREDICTABLE: WWE Elimination Chamber 2018
Since 2015, WWE has made their main long-term plan clear – to make Roman Reigns their new top face of the promotion. Even though negative receptions kept increasing, the WWE never intended to stop this goal, and during WrestleMania 34 season, it seemed the plan had come to fruition. Roman was booked in a seven-man Elimination Chamber for a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Title, the first and only one in its existence as of this writing.
Even with a staggering number of SEVEN participants in the field, the outcome was never in doubt. Not even Seth Rollins, The Miz, Elias, John Cena, Finn Balor, or Braun Strowman (who made five eliminations that night!) could withstand the power of the Big Dog, falling to the future Tribal Chief and giving up the #1 contender spot to Reigns.
3) CHANGED WRESTLEMANIA: WWE Elimination Chamber 2014
Although you could argue it was the YES Movement’s occupying of RAW that changed the course of WrestleMania, there is no denying that that wouldn’t have happened without the result of the 2014 Elimination Chamber match. Daniel Bryan entered the steel structure alongside defending champion Randy Orton, John Cena, Sheamus, Cesaro, and Christian.
The American Dragon put on a terrific performance, earning the respect and support of the fans, which undoubtedly led the company to insert him in the main event of WrestleMania XXX. Moreover, the PPV also saw a hellacious six-man war between the Shield and the Wyatt Family.
READ NEXT: The 10 Best February PPV Matches In History
Many believe this planted the seeds for the Shield’s slow transformation as a fan-favorite faction due to their valiant effort against the Wyatts. By the time WM XXX rolled around, the Shield would become full-blown babyfaces.
2) PREDICTABLE: WWE Elimination Chamber 2022
At Royal Rumble 2022, Roman Reigns overcame former stablemate Seth Rollins to hold on to his Universal Championship. In that same event, Reigns interfered in the WWE Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley, costing Lesnar his title, only for the Beast Incarnate to proceed to win the Royal Rumble later in the night anyway.
With the Rumble out of the way, the direction was already made clear to the viewers that Reigns and Lesnar would meet at WrestleMania 38, potentially for both World Titles. Because of this, no one expected any different result heading into the 2022 Elimination Chamber. Reigns retained over Goldberg while Lesnar completely wiped the floor in the Chamber main event, both in totally predictable fashions.
1) CHANGED WRESTLEMANIA: WWE Elimination Chamber 2019
Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best sudden changes to transpire during the Road to WrestleMania happened here. Kofi Kingston, the happy-go-lucky member of the New Day who has been in the company for well over a decade, was randomly selected to replace the injured Mustafa Ali in an Elimination Chamber match for Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship. Bryan’s heel phase was in full effect at the time, proclaiming himself to be the Planet’s Champion who protects the world.
During the match, however, Kofi shocked the entire world, lasting all the way to the final two before being finished off by Bryan. This, along with Kofi’s gauntlet performance on SmackDown, led to a gigantic uproar from the fans, who DEMANDED that Kingston challenge Bryan for the title at the Grandest Stage of Them All!
After fighting hard for his spot, his wish finally came true, and Kingston would ultimately claim the belt at WrestleMania 35, completing the most organic Cinderella story wrestling has ever seen in years. KOFIMANIA IS RUNNING WILD, BROTHER!
So, what do you think of the list? Do you agree with our picks? Or do you have other events in your mind? Tell us your thoughts down in the comment below! Thank you for reading!